It took all season but the Inland Empire 66ers finally won a series against the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.
Sherman Johnson homered and Mark Sappington notched a hard-fought save to edge the Quakes 7-6 at LoanMart Field on Thursday, August 29.
The starters for both teams were in a groove through the first six innings. Quakes starter Chris Anderson held the 66ers to just one run over six frames, the lone run coming from a solo shot by Johnson, his 14th of the season.
Clint Sharp was strong in his own right for the 66ers, allowing just two runs over six innings, he would leave trailing 2-1 but after the 66ers offense came to life he finished with a no decision.
With one out in the seventh, Cal Towey and Mark Shannon hit consecutive singles off Anderson and Exicardo Cayones walked to load the bases. Anderson followed with his 10th strikeout of the night to get the second out of the inning. That brought the nine-hitter Anthony Bemboom to the plate and he wasted no time, ripping the first pitch from Anderson to left field to tie the game 2-2. Anderson walked Johnson to bring in a run and give Inland Empire the lead 3-2. Rob Rogers was brought in to relieve Anderson but he hit Chad Hinshaw to score another run. Rogers struck out Dennis Raben on a wild-pitch and that allowed Bemboom to score from third and push the lead to 5-2.
The Quakes answered in the home half of the seventh with three runs off 66ers reliever Danny Miranda that tied the game 5-5.
In the eighth, Inland Empire (58-78, 33-33) had three-straight left-handed hitters due up in Towey, Shannon and Cayones so Rancho (63-73, 31-35) brought in lefty Geoff Brown to try and gain plus matchup. Tower and Shannon changed that plan with back-to-back singles and then Cayones roped a two-run double to right-center to put the 66ers up 7-5.
Sappington picked up the save in the ninth, but it didn’t come easy. Adam Law singled with one out and scored on a double by Erisbel Arruebarrena to make it a one run game. With the tying run in scoring position, Sappington induced a ground ball to first for the final out of the game.